Couple Copes With COVID-19 Loss Through New Online Business
Devastating loss has defined the COVID-19 pandemic for the Lambles. Between March and April of this year, 15 of their friends & family members died from the virus. The deaths of loved ones created untold anxiety and sleepless nights for Kate Lamble, 61. But through that tumultuous time, Kate and her husband, Charles Lamble, 62, decided to take action and help where they could. They did that by giving out hundreds of face shields for free. “When COVID-19 first came to life, my husband was in the car-audio repair shop business and he had friends in the U.S. who were re-purposing their repair shops to create face shields,” Lamble says.
“That motivated Charlie to re-purpose his audio repair shop to create our own face shields for protection. Charlie’s excellent at repurposing things. He came up with the face-shield designs,” Lamble adds.
The couple began working out of their Vars, Ontario shop, cranking out hundreds of face shields. However, the cost of giving out free face shields quickly added up, and their next best option was to create a business selling face shields for a reasonable price. The Lambles found support through the ShopHERE Powered By Google Program, a government-funded initiative that helps small businesses develop an online presence, and at no cost to them. “The people at ShopHERE were a huge help in getting the ball rolling on this – they made us feel like we were their only customers,” Lamble says.
“We’re not spring chickens, we’re not tech savvy, and the ShopHERE Program gave us the support we needed,” she adds. “I used to shy away from the online world and now we have an online store, so it’s kind of crazy.”
Aptly named, Lamble Shield, the e-commerce platform is built using Shopify, and it gives the business a sense of legitimacy, Lamble says. It also offers the couple an opportunity to do what they can to help amid the pandemic.
There’s been a lot of talk about masks as Canadian municipalities mandate face coverings in certain locations. Face shields have not been getting the same amount of coverage. However, according to the Center for Disease Control in the U.S., face shields work well for certain demographics, including “people who are deaf or hard of hearing—or those who care for or interact with a person who is hearing impaired,” the website states.
Lamble – who worked for 25 years in long-term care prior to retiring – says in conjunction with facemasks, face shields offer an added layer of protection for those who are highly vulnerable to the virus, people like her own family. “I have family members who are transplant recipients and their immune systems are compromised,” she says.
Face shields are readily available online, however, many are made overseas and tend to be flimsy, Lamble says. The Lambles are competing on both the quality and the price of their face shields, which sell for $3 each.
Local pharmacies and stores are now selling the Lamble Face Shield, and they’re also being used in hospitals. But the Lambles are grateful their online store offers them access to a larger audience, thanks in part to the ShopHERE Program. “I would definitely recommend the ShopHERE program to others who want to go online,” Lamble says.
“My ShopHERE Coordinator explained everything, and walked me through the back-end of the store. She could see what I was seeing and I could see what she was seeing – it was a tremendous help,” she adds. During this challenging time for Lamble, the ShopHERE Program offered her some solace. “She took the stress away.”